Making WeChat work for brands

Making WeChat work for brands

Just a year or so ago, WeChat was only used for private messages between friends. Today, it has become a multi-platform tool for private and public use. It’s tricky to predict what WeChat will be in the future, but here are some pointers on how to make the best use of its current format.

What Is WeChat?

WeChat (also called Weixin – “micro-message” in Chinese) is a mobile phone text and voice messaging communication service developed by Tencent (founded in November 1998, Tencent has grown into China’s largest and most-used Internet service portal). Users can access it across a variety of platforms including Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Symbian.

At its core, WeChat is very similar to many other instant messaging apps such as the popular WhatsApp. However, it has features native to more traditional social media platforms, such as a newsfeed (Facebook), a focus on small, bite-sized content (Twitter), video calling (Skype), and location-based services (Foursquare).

At the beginning of this year, WeChat announced on its official Sina Weibo account that it had reached a landmark 300 million users.

Who Uses WeChat?

According to its own data, most WeChat users find it through other products related to Tencent Group. More than half are aged 25 to 30, they live in first-tier cities, and 24 percent of them are white collar.

Why So Unique?

Large number of users. With the rapid development of on- and offline exposure, based on Tencent QQ’s huge database (it’s the biggest IM tool in China, with 784 million active users), it’s easy for WeChat to own a large number of followers, and to keep the number growing.

Precise positioning. It’s possible to categorize people into different groups according to their location and gender.

A new model of social CRM. Unlike Weibo, WeChat is not focused on exposure and influence. Instead, it’s concerned with giving each client a personalized service designed to satisfy individual needs.

WeChat Public Platform: The First Step for Brand Marketing

How to apply for a public account: WeChat opened its public platform in August 2012. Brands can apply for a public account via a QQ account. It allows for duplication of names, so brands need not be concerned that others have registered their name before them.

How to drive subscription: On registration, brands will be given a personalized QR code with a picture of their ID in its center. Users can subscribe to brand accounts by scanning the QR code or searching for their ID via the tool “Adding a Friend.”

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